If you’ve hired even one person, then you know that hiring the right candidate is absolutely crucial to running a profitable business. Hire the wrong person and you may find yourself spending twice as much in the process of termination and rehiring. For this reason, there are six qualities that an ideal candidate should have, regardless of the position or company.
1) The ideal candidate is “smart”
The productivity of an employee is often determined by his or her level of intelligence. For most people, that means that they are at least capable of performing the demands of the job. In many cases, an individual will not only be able to perform their job requirements but be able to assess other needs within the business and fulfill them.
However, the level of intelligence required for a position is variable. Each employer should determine what level of planning, organizing, setting priorities, and solving problems an applicant should be required to perform to get the job done; and then align that with their search.
If it’s enough to have common sense and the practical ability to deal with the daily demands of the job, perfect. However, if you’re looking for a candidate with the capacity to do more, look for individuals who ask good questions and are curious to know more about your business.
2) What about Integrity?
Integrity should be most critical when considering an applicant. Not only is the candidate honest about who they are; but they can also admit their strengths and weaknesses as well as mistakes they might have made in the past. This level of honesty often emerges when discussing prior work experience. An ideal candidate knows how to discuss previous jobs in such a way that they can speak to their accomplishments (or failures) without speaking negatively about anyone they may have worked for.
Not only are you ensuring that the person you hire will do what they say they’re going to do within their hired position, but you also want to know that they will continue that level of integrity should he or she decide to leave your company in the future.
3) Should your ideal candidate be likable?
While every organization has its own unique culture, most employers prefer to work with people who are friendly, easygoing, and can play well with others. As such, don’t completely ignore a candidate’s cover letter. The cover letter is often the first glimpse into a potential employee’s personality. While someone may have all the credentials to suit the job, if they aren’t a cultural fit, then it’s not the right hire.
On a similar note, be careful not to overweigh a candidate’s likability during an interview. While it’s important to hire people you get along with, you also want to make sure the ideal candidate is properly qualified.
4) Confidence is key!
It’s completely normal to be a little nervous before a job interview. However, most employers will hire the candidate who demonstrates the most confidence in themselves. By this, we don’t mean that the person knows how to “toot their own horn.” We mean the ability to remain calm and relaxed during the interview. An individual who keeps their cool during an interview is much more likely to stay calm and collected during the inevitable crises that occur on the job.
5) Interview for Courage
Most jobs are pretty well defined in terms of tasks and responsibilities. However, an ideal candidate will express a willingness to take on the unknown. This level of courage accepts a challenge beyond the job description, is willing to take on bigger jobs or projects that could fail, and isn’t afraid to speak up and say something in difficult situations.
Be sure to ask questions during the interview that give you a glimpse into how the candidate might respond to an unknown situation. It also helps to have a selection committee with different questioning styles to interview a candidate so that you can gauge how a person responds to different types of people. An ideal candidate will be able to adjust their communication style appropriately to meet the different personality styles interviewing them.
6) Leadership Potential
Finally, look for leadership potential in an ideal candidate. As you grow your business, you’ll find that it is much less costly to promote from within. Therefore, look for candidates who have a willingness and the desire to take charge, volunteer for assignments, and accept responsibility for all aspects of the job (including failures that may not directly be their fault).
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